Prog 521 – What If… The Judges Did the Ads?

Story: What If… The Judges Did the Ads?
Appears: 2000AD Prog 521
Issues: 1
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art: Brett Ewins, Ian Gibson, Robin Smith, Kevin O’Neill, Cam Kennedy
Dated: 9 May 1987

Possibly inspired by the Marvel “What If…” comics of the period this is a series of parodies of advertisements that would have been on British television at the time. Because the title prefaces the nature of the stories you know not to take it seriously. Unlike the clanger “A Real Xmas Story” from Prog 502.

If you aren’t familiar with the actual adverts themselves, which are now at least 20 years old they won’t make any sense. But if you are there is some sharp humour in here. Each of the five stories is drawn by a different artist helping to keep them separate.

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Prog 520 – Ten Years On

Story: Ten Years On
Appears: 2000AD Prog 520
Issues: 1
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art: Garry Leach
Dated: 2 May 1987

Continuing the recent raiding of the archives we dig up Dredd’s first ever perp (in 2000AD terms). What a shame so little is done with him. This could have made a great and suspenseful story if his identity hadn’t been revealed on page one.

The detailed Garry Leach art is definitely worth noting.

Prog 519 – Blood Donor

Story: Blood Donor
Appears: 2000AD Prog 519
Issues: 1
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art: Brendan McCarthy
Dated: 25 April 1987

Is this a retelling of an old Hancock sketch? It could be. With the usual painful twist and black humour at the end of course.

The Brendan McCarthy art is certainly different from the Dredd style we are used to. Be that good or bad. 

Prog 518 – The Interrogation

Story: The Interrogation
Appears: 2000AD Prog 518
Issues: 1
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art: Kim Raymond
Dated: 18 April 1987

This should be the calibre of every Dredd story. There is proper suspense and tension, and a real feeling of jeopardy for Dredd that most of his stories don’t have. We also have a returning character from a long time ago that rewards long-term readers and adds to the authenticity of the drama.

Like all great Dredd stories we learn more about the world. And most importantly what a nasty one it is.

Infrequent artist Kim Raymond seems a lot more at home with the material now and goes for bold and abstract depictions over realism which proves a good choice.

Prog 517 – Night of the Ripper

Story: Night of the Ripper
Appears: 2000AD Prog 517
Issues: 1
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art: Jose Ortiz
Dated: 11 April 1987

Time travel is always a problematic concept and when used in such a disposable way as this it really ruins any credibility the story has. Deus ex Machina is alive and well it seems. With a character as potent as Jack the Ripper it is such a waste to have him as mere monster material, and probably disrespectful to his actual crimes.